Friday, August 1, 2014

The Centipede Street Of Malaka (马六甲蜈蚣街)

The famous Dutch City Hall in Malaka.
Jonker Street is also known as ‘Holland Street’ amongst the locals. It is situated in the state of Malaka, Malaysia, at the centre of China Town. In old days, it is said that there this was a place for rich and famous. There was a saying that sounds like:



“A lady shouldn’t be married outside of the street.”


That shows that the rich and famous mainly congregated along Jonker Street at that time.


Jonker Street is also called ‘Centipede Street’ (蜈蚣街) because those houses situated along the street are built pretty long and very closely packed just as if the feet of a centipede. Coincidentally there are about 200 houses along Jonker Street that somehow coincides with the 100 pairs of feet of a centipede.


Scholars attributed such a strange design to the way Dutch authority taxed each household. It was said that during Dutch rule, property taxation was based on the width of a property and that taxes are even imposed on the number of windows opened. Hence house owner of that time had chosen to improvise their house to strange shape that we see today.


There is a Dutch Stadthuys (City Hall) building adjacent to Jonker Street. On top of this Stadthuys are two iron cocks. It is a local urban legend that the iron cocks of Stadthuys are the main culprits that destroyed once good Feng Shui of Centipede Street.


Legend has it that the Dutch envied the success of rich and famous Chinese folks along the Jonker Street. So the Dutch authority employed a Feng Shui master to do an audit and finally two iron cocks are placed on top of the Stadthuys. Ever since the installation of the iron cocks, the Jonker Street’s once good Feng Shui gradually faded in time until today.


The legend is left as a legend as Jonker Street was actually a dwelling place for the Dutch businessmen and officials. It is quite unlikely that the Dutch was interested in Feng Shui at that time too.


Any way, Malaka is reallya nice place to visit regardless if one is interested in Feng Shui. Why not just drop in if you have the time?




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